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Jun 28, 2023 · 29 min read

Affiliate Marketing on Instagram - 13 Effective Strategies

Affiliate marketing on Instagram has opened the doors for brands, influencers, and affiliate marketers to work creatively together.

Affiliate Marketing on Instagram - 13 Effective Strategies

Instagram is the third-most popular social media app in the world, with more than 2 billion active users as of January 2023.1 By using the power of word-of-mouth marketing and shout-outs, consumers are more likely to buy, brands are more likely to sell products, influencers can earn money, and affiliates can earn commissions. 

This article includes a step-by-step guide on how to do affiliate marketing on Instagram, along with 13 essential methods to optimise any Instagram affiliate marketing efforts for the target audience. 


Table of content:


How Does Affiliate Marketing for Instagram Work?

Affiliate marketing for Instagram works the same way it does for other channels. Content creators promote affiliate links to brands and their products to their Instagram following by weaving them creatively and organically into their content. In return, they earn a commission on each sale they refer to a brand's website. The brand needs to be working with an affiliate platform or affiliate program in order for a sale to be tracked correctly. It is mutually beneficial for both brands and influencers to work together to try to maximise sales.

Benefits of Working With Social Media Influencers for Affiliate Marketing 

In 2022, the global influencer marketing market was estimated to be worth $16.4 billion.2 This is double what it was three years ago, highlighting how rapidly influencer marketing has established itself. This, coupled with Instagram’s wide reach, make Instagram influence marketing a stellar strategy for brands looking to reach out to more customers. Brands that work with Instagram influencers on an affiliate program can expect to see several benefits, including:

1. Increased Brand Engagement 

When Instagram affiliates promote links to a product on Instagram, they usually tag the brand they are promoting in the comment and also link to the specific product, creating clickable Instagram posts. 

This means that when the target audience is browsing and reading the comments, the brand will be prominent in the eyes of potential customers. If they click on the tag of sponsored posts, they will be directed to the correlating Instagram page. And if they copy and paste the link to the product, the brand will gain more traffic and Instagram engagement. So it's a win-win situation. 

2. An Increase in Revenue

Word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly effective, particularly in the context of affiliate marketing. Consumers instinctively tend to trust a product that has been reviewed favourably by other consumers. With this in mind, working with an Instagram influencer is a great plan to bolster a marketing budget via social media.

3. Better Relationships Between Instagram Influencers and Brand

When an Instagram influencer works with a brand and is successful in terms of generating more sales and increasing active users, it is likely that both the influencer and the brand would be interested in repeating it. This is ideal for brands that don't just want a one-time promotion with a potential new ambassador.

How to Set Up an Instagram Affiliate Marketing Program

Once an affiliate understands precisely what benefits they can gain from Instagram affiliate marketing, they can take the first steps to set up their own affiliate program. Here is a step-by-step guide for Instagram users looking to set up a new affiliate program.

1. Set Up Instagram Account

Whether the user is a brand, social media influencer or affiliate marketer, creating a good Instagram profile isn't as easy as it sounds. In principle, it is simple - take a good photo, upload it, add a filter and publish. 

However, some of the most successful accounts have taken steps to make sure their Instagram stands out from the crowd so that they can gain more followers. And if they are an influencer, it paves the way for big brands to want to work with them to reach a wider audience.

2. Choose a Good Username

The first is to choose a memorable username, so when people tag the profile in their photos on Instagram, they don't have to search hard to find it.

It's best not to have any strange characters in the username as it can make it more difficult for people to find the account through search. 

3. Pick a Relevant Profile Picture

Next, make sure the picture reflects the profile of your affiliate program. If it is a business, it should include a logo, not a photo of yourself. If it is an individual, generally speaking, a high-quality headshot will do the trick. Both image and username should marry up to represent the profile's brand.

4. Make the Instagram Account Public 

The Instagram profile should be accessible to everyone. Setting the Instagram account to private means having to approve each person who wants to follow.

This will slow down the whole process increasing the follower count, a key metric in selling affiliate products.

5. Create an Informative Bio

Make sure the Instagram bio includes useful information about the Instagram user or company. With only 150 characters to show off what the brand is about, it is essential to make them count. 

Be sure to include the website link and a method of contact. This is important for influencers and also for brands. At the moment, it isn't possible to search bios for keywords and hashtags, so there is no need for them to be included in the bio.

6. Use Captions and Geo-tagging

A compelling photo for Instagram affiliate marketing will include relevant information about the photograph and ask a question of the followers. This is important to drive engagement to the posts and it gives people the information they are searching for.

Geo-tagging can help when customers want to find out where something is located. A blogger utilising geo-tagging might include where the photograph was taken. Brands should geo-tag store locations to make it easier for people to find.

7. Use Niche-relevant Tags and Hashtags

When an affiliate marketer posts a photo, they should make sure to use relevant tags. To choose the best tags for the content, they need to research their audience to find out what hashtags they are using on their posts. Posting the most popular tags won't necessarily help in the long run. 

For example, a travel blogger should use travel-related tags. If they were to include a hashtag about vitamins, it wouldn't necessarily fit with their content. If they include a hashtag that doesn't fit their niche, people will be less likely to engage.

The average engagement rate on influencer-generated content on Instagram worldwide in 2021 for influencers with 1,000-5,000 followers was 4.8%.3 This indicates that influencers need to leverage every strategy available to them to increase engagement.

8. Include a URL in the Comments

When people are following a brand or influencer, they will usually see images on their news feed instead of going directly to a page. This is why it's crucial to include affiliate links below the picture in order to drive more traffic to the page or to a particular product page.

9. Instagram Shopping

Of all the social media platforms, Instagram has gone out of its way to make it easy for its users to be online shoppers.14 It is easy to make organic posts shoppable. For those just starting out with Instagram affiliate marketing, they can check out the Instagram Shopping Guide.4 According to Entrepreneur magazine, 83% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery.5

In 2023, 35% of Instagram users in the US are expected to make a purchase on the platform itself.6  Their focus on shopping is why Instagram is the most popular social media platform brands use influencers on. 

In 2021, Instagram announced a new feature for shopping product drops, wherein brands can create a buzz in the lead up to a product launch.7 Smart brands can utilise this feature to line up influential affiliates to generate buzz ahead of a product launch, knowing fans can set reminders to buy as soon as a product drops.8

10. Brands Should Tag Their Products

Tagging products on Instagram make them shoppable to followers. It allows brands to include up to 5 products in one image, and the pricing will be displayed for visitors. 

When they click on the product or affiliate link, it will take them through to the product page, which can lead to a purchase. It's a great way to boost sales.

11. Choose an Affiliate Platform

The next step is to select and sign up for an affiliate platform. Major affiliate platforms offer affiliate marketers a range of benefits, including connecting them with influencers, tracking technology, reporting tools and payment processing technology. An affiliate platform, such as Commission Factory, will help those new to affiliate marketing understand which commission model is best for their affiliate marketing sales, connect them with micro-influencers and link them with potential customers. The tracking technology is fundamental as it allows influencers to track clicks and sales.

12. Select Commission Rates

Once they have selected and joined one of the affiliate platform, it's time to set their commission rates. That is, how much they'll pay an influencer for every actual sale they help facilitate through the use of a discount code on their Instagram posts.

How to Do Affiliate Marketing on Instagram?

Here are 13 strategies on how to do influencer marketing on Instagram to help creators leverage the power of affiliate marketing: 

1. Add Website Link to Instagram Bio

This is one of the best ways for influencers (and micro-influencers) to get their traffic to convert to sales. If an Instagram feed is full of beautiful lifestyle images people are curious about, then letting them know they can shop for these items is key. 

@sheshopped has done this on her Instagram, and the page on her website has all of her shoppable Instagram photos with product information, and when a user clicks on one, they are given some information on it and can click through to the store.

Add Website Link to Instagram Bio

2. Utilise Coupon Codes

Coupon codes have always been an effective way to get people to buy something and they are integral in the context of affiliate marketing. Influencers like @taylavvilson have a product photograph, and in the blurb, she includes a coupon. 

If it is an exclusive coupon code, then it has more draw because the discount is better than a standard coupon code. Not all coupon codes require a click to be tracked by an affiliate network. This is excellent news for these affiliates who want to promote an exclusive code but don't want to include an affiliate link.

Utilise Coupon Codes

3. Products Don't Have to Be the Focus 

Travel blogger @Anna Everywhere has an Instagram full of stunning photo shoots in amazing locations around the world. She is incredibly stylish, and many people send her messages asking where she buys her clothes and other accessories. 

So to help with that - even though this is not the focal point of the picture, she will include a link to the product below the image or in the comments  The image below is from Playa del Carmen, and she responds to user’s queries asking about the colourful hat her pet cat is wearing by linking to an Etsy store in the comments. 

Products Don't Have to Be the Focus

4. Shoot Your Own Images

This might sound like a given, but it looks better if users can do their own photoshoot in their own style. It all goes back to word of mouth marketing and presenting content as user-generated rather than brand promoted. If the influencer is the one wearing the product, it is more genuine and more likely to lead to a sale. 

@victoriama9 is a great example of this - it's clear in the images that it's her wearing the outfits and not a photo from the brand. Utilising a professional photographer to create high-quality digital images is perfect for the Instagram audience.

Shoot Your Own Images

5. Use Instagram Stories to Create Brand Awareness

Since the introduction of Instagram stories in October 2016, it has become incredibly popular as a peek into the day-to-day lives of some of the most popular Instagrammers out there. In 2022, Instagram Stories had a potential ad reach of 996 million users.8

With stories, each post lasts for just 24 hours, which is a great way to build anticipation towards a new product. This lets people know to expect something new the next day to highlight the brand.  Influencers can use this strategy to pique people's curiosity, increase engagement and generate more conversions. Using the "Join Chat" and video features in Instagram Stories will help gain even more traction.

6. Work on a Niche to Bolster Community

Focusing on a niche that has a highly engaged following is more likely to be successful. @shopbackau is one of those affiliates. It is for people who want to shop for the best deals and get cashback on all their spending.11 If a brand has any great promotions, they will let their users know so they can grab the bargain, nab the products and accumulate cashback. They have a very active Facebook page, but they use their Instagram page to highlight products, but also to encourage brands to work with them.

7. Create Blog Posts to Complement Instagram

To make the most of followers and to increase the likelihood of someone going on to buy, a blog post on the influencer's own website can help drive traffic and bolster chances of a referral sale - this works particularly well with beauty posts, or travel and lifestyle posts. Influencers and brands can include it in an Instagram story or as part of the post advertising the product.

@husshsales does this on a regular basis.

For instance, this Instagram post about the latest Guess and Steve Madden sale is complemented with a blog post on their website.

Create Blog Posts to Complement Instagram

Create Blog Posts to Complement Instagram

8. Run Sponsored Posts to Boost Sales

Sponsored posts on Instagram can be a great tool to increase followers, and engagements on specific posts. If influencers have a coupon code or are working on a collaboration, this can be a good way to increase sales. Users can target their audience via specific demographics, including location, interests, behaviours, and purchase intent, making it easy to find the people they are looking for.

9. Boost Posts Through Paid Searches

If an influencer wants to get more followers or more clicks on a specific post, it is possible to run paid search to their Instagram page via Google Adwords. To do this, they need to make sure that they keep their conversion rate and budget in mind and do their keyword research properly.

10. Instagram Reels

No Instagram post would be complete without discussing the growing importance of video. Enter Reels, Instagram’s answer to TikTok. Reels allow creators to tell stories using videos. Unlike stories, which are visible only to followers, Reels are public. This means they have the potential to go viral. Also, unlike Stories, Reels do not disappear after 24 hours.

Internet users are spending ever more time watching videos, and Instagram is a great platform for a content creator to leverage the video format using Reels. Serious influencers and brands need to move into video if they haven't already. 

11. Use Affiliate Links Strategically

It may not be immediately obvious how to even use Instagram for affiliate marketing because users cannot enter links when they post photos. This isn't unusual as social media channels prefer to keep their users on their site and favour posts without links with more views. Instagram wisely enables purchases without leaving their platforms which is the best way to generate sales.

But links can be used on Instagram, too. Here are some strategies for getting affiliate links on Instagram: 

  • If an influencer is only promoting one brand, they should leave the affiliate link in the bio so followers have somewhere else to interact with 
  • Influencers who promote one brand at a time sequentially can change the affiliate link in their bio to match the brand they are currently promoting.
  • Business accounts with at least 10k followers can consider using a swipe-up link in Instagram stories, but remember what we said about platforms favouring posts that are not trying to send their users off their site. This method can reduce visibility. 
  • Creating really memorable branded short URLs to use on images or in photo descriptions can lead to users typing them in manually. This is the least likely to work as even links in tweets and on other social networks are getting fewer and fewer clicks with each passing year.   
  • Best idea: skip the link and use a coupon code to get credit for the sale of products instead.

12. Always use #ad or #spon per legal requirements

Influencers can stay out of legal difficulties by remembering to consistently meet the Australian ACCC / American FTC disclosure requirements (or its country-specific equivalent ). 

Fines can be very steep on both brands and influencers. So even if there is a low likelihood of prosecution, who wants to take that chance?

Also, influencers should bear in mind they are responsible for the accuracy of what they post. If they exaggerate or fail to be truthful in their posts, they can be sued.10

Contests are popular, but influencers should make sure they know their country's legal requirements. Many contests seen online today are borderline or outright illegal. That may catch up with them someday.

13. Measure Results

Influencers who are serious about making money via affiliate products on the Instagram app use tools to schedule their shares at the best time to post on Instagram.12  They leverage analytics to measure what is working for their affiliate marketing campaigns so they can increase their conversion rates. 

Anyone serious about Instagram affiliate marketing should get familiar with Instagram Insights in their Instagram business account.

Another handy tool to measure success is the free Kicksta Instagram Engagement Calculator.13 Brands often choose influencers for their affiliate marketing program based on how much engagement their posts get. 

Influencers and affiliates interested in getting more brand-sponsored work need to focus on increasing their engagement numbers. One way to do that is to limit how much they post. 

Putting more time and effort into crafting the perfect post and giving it more time to be featured is key to successful Instagram affiliate marketing.

5 Best Affiliate Marketing Bios for Instagram

Instagram doesn’t offer a lot of space for bios. Bios that extend for more than four lines tend to get cropped. This means marketers need to be clear and crisp about letting their potential audience know what their page is all about. At the same time, a good bio shouldn’t be overtly salesy. Here’s how some of the top influencers on Instagram walk the tightrope between being candid and crafty in their Instagram bios.

1. The Points Guy

The Points Guy is an Instagram handle that shares updates on the latest travel days, and ways to travel smartly and safely. The bio makes the purpose of the page abundantly clear in one short sentence. The rest of the space in the bio is used to point users to its other online resources.

The Points Guy

2. The Pasta Queen

The Pasta Queen is a popular food influencer with over 1.8 million followers at last count. She uses her bio to inform visitors of her page’s purpose, while also displaying her stellar credentials as a published author. The rest of the space in the bio is used to direct visitors to the link to her cookbook. Below the bio, she has also linked her own Instagram shop, striking the perfect balance between art and business.

The Pasta Queen

3. Islandskin808

Islandskin808 is an Instagram influencer in the beauty and skincare niche. Rather than being too salesy in her approach, she introduces herself as being on a mission to help people make better choices. By using the first person plural pronoun “us” in the bio, she also signals that she is accompanying the user in their journey, thereby helping build trust and engagement.


4. Gregory Velvet

Gregory Velvet is an influencer in the men’s fashion niche. His bio is simple, brief, and effective. There are no complete sentences and information is revealed in short, crisp phrases. The visitor knows at a glance what the page is about. The bio ends with a link to the creator’s personal website.

Gregory Velvet

5. Julia Berolzheimer 

Julia Berolzheimer is one of the most popular Instagram influencers in the women’s fashion niche with over 1.3 million followers. Her bio is short, and includes links to the products she endorses.

Julia Berolzheimer

Affiliate Marketing Content Ideas for Instagram

We share examples of some popular influencers in three different niches - travel, men’s fashion, and accessories to show how they’re using Instagram for affiliate marketing.

1. Travel

Iva Jeremic is a popular travel blogger with over 123,000 followers on Instagram. She posts pictures, stories, and reels about her travels across the world.


In this post, she describes her experience of travelling in a cruise on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai route. At the end of the post, she tags the cruise operator, Costa Cruises.


2. Men’s Fashion

Saeid Shokrallahi is a popular men’s fashion blogger and Instagram influencer who shares content related to men’s fashion.

Men’s Fashion

In this post, he is wearing a three piece suit with a tie by the luxury clothing brand Siamod. He has tagged the brand right under the post.

Men’s Fashion

3. Accessories

Newoutfithut is an Instagram handle with over 447,000 followers that creates content centred around fashion, lifestyle, and accessories. In this post, they’ve displayed an iPhone case that doubles up as a cardholder wallet.

The post discusses all the features of the product in detail, and at the end, tags the seller  - in this case Custype - along with a discount code. A series of hashtags related to the product enable easy content discovery.


Key Instagram Takeaways 

Here are some key points to remember for those looking to start out as an affiliate influencer on Instagram or to recruit some influencers on an affiliate basis : 

  • Create an Instagram profile that stands out from the rest
  • Work on researching influencers and developing good relationships with influencers and brands in your niche
  • Have a strategy and clear expectations that work for both the parties - the brand and the influencer
  • Remember that algorithms constantly change, so focus on an Instagram strategy that works in 2023 (and update as needed) 

If you would like to incorporate Instagram into your affiliate marketing activity, speak to your Commission Factory contact or contact us.

Commission Factory is not only the Asia-Pacific region's largest affiliate platform, working with more than 800 of the world's biggest brands, but it is also a performance marketing platform that allows content creators and influencers to earn money and online businesses to increase sales.

Connect with the Commission Factory team to learn more about how we help brands and publishers build and grow their affiliate marketing strategies.  

Want to work with content creators speak to us today


What Is Affiliate Marketing on Instagram?

Affiliate marketing on Instagram is a strategy in which influencers with a considerable Instagram following work with brands to promote their products in return for affiliate commissions. 

Can You Do Affiliate Marketing on Instagram?

Yes, affiliate marketing on Instagram works just like affiliate marketing for blogs, websites, and other channels. Influencers

recommend products to their followers and get paid a commission each time their followers make a purchase based on their recommendations.

Can You Do Affiliate Marketing on Instagram

Is Instagram Good for Affiliate Marketing? 

As one of the most popular social media networks, Instagram has more than 2 billion active users. Moreover, a large percentage of Instagram users use the platform for product discovery and shopping. This makes Instagram great for recommending new products and earning commissions off purchases.

How Many Followers Do You Need for Affiliate Marketing on Instagram?

There is no set number of followers needed to become an affiliate on Instagram. However, it is recommended you have at least 5,000 followers and a healthy engagement rate to make the best out of Instagram affiliate marketing.

Want to work with content creators speak to us today



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  2. Influencer marketing market size worldwide from 2016 to 2022 | Statista
  3. Engagement rates among Instagram influencers worldwide from 2018 to 2021, by number of followers | Statista
  4. Instagram Shopping Guide
  5. Instagram Is the New Shopping Destination | Entrepreneur
  6. TikTok will match Facebook’s social buyer penetration this year | Insider Intelligence
  7. Instagram launches a new section for shopping product drops | Techcrunch
  8. Digital 2022: October Global Statshot Report | Hootsuite
  9. The Instagram Algorithm in 2023 | Foundr
  10. Instafamous must reveal #ads under new transparency rules | ABC
  11. What is Cashback and How Cashback Works 101 | Commission Factory
  12. When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2023? | Later Blog
  13. Instagram Engagement Rate Calculator | Kicksta
  14. EOFY Sales 2023: End of Financial Year Checklist for Retailers | Commission Factory

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